Empathy Map (Part 3): Completing the Diagram

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A completed empathy map delivers the right content to the right person.

Now that you have researched data and information about your avatar, it’s time to complete the empathy map.

The empathy map comes in different formats. Dave Gray used an empathy map canvass that looks like the format below. It has six quadrants that answer the following:

Updated Empathy Map by Dave Gray
  1. Goals (Who is the person for the avatar? What do you hope they need to do?)
  2. What do they see?
  3. What do they say?
  4. What do they do?
  5. What do they hear?
  6. What do they think and feel (Pains/Gains)?

Another format uses four quadrants only. See the featured empathy map (by Nielsen Norman Group) above. It answers the following questions:

  1. What are they thinking?
  2. What are they seeing?
  3. What are they doing?
  4. What are they feeling?

Have you observed what is common to the two formats? They have the same main elements, specifically about what your avatar thinks, says, does, and feels.

In more or less than an hour, you can have an initial empathy map where you can add more information to the quadrants as you get to know and understand your avatar more.

Let’s focus on the four sensory perceptions.  Fill in the formatted chart with encounters that the avatar actually and truly experiences using a product or employing a service.  See the examples below.


  • What matters to your avatar
  • Negative and positive thoughts
  • Dreams, hopes, motivations
  • Inner conflicts, worries
  • Reactions
  • What they think what others say
  • Real quotes
  • Terminologies


  • What is happening in the market environment
  • What others are doing
  • Daily encounters (people, activities, events, etc.)
  • What the news, magazines, blogs are talking about
  • Aesthetics, prominent features


  • Attitudes and behaviors, and why they do them
  • Changes in attitudes and behaviors
  • Actions – why are they inclined to do things
  • Tasks and responsibilities
  • What they do on a typical day


  • What your avatar is excited about
  • What she feels about success and failure
  • Fears and worries
  • Frustrations and challenges


  • Fill in the quadrants with what your avatar thinks, sees, does, and feels according to the defined goals.
  • Be eager to understand your avatar.
  • Identify and check the inconsistencies in what they think, do, and say.
  • Think of possible ways to shift the avatar’s attention, or educate them, when they have not heard of the product or service.
  • Ask for feedback about the completed empathy map.
  • Do not aim for perfection.  Remember that this is an exercise that you can improve as you get the hang of it.

Now it’s time to think of what to write given the information you gathered from your empathy map.  Those will be enough for your content plan!

Experience how it is easy to write a compelling copy that is right for your audience.  Do you think you can write your content now?

Empathy Map Sample Page 1
Empathy Map Sample Page 2

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